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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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The Polish Republic which was restored to freedom in 1918,
found itself between the grindstones of two imperialist Powers. Those
Powers—Russia and Germany, bursting with ambition to expand and,
after years of preparation, feeling themselves strong enough to fulfil
their dream by an armed action, endeavoured to destroy Poland and
those other small States between the Baltic and Aegean Seas in order
to march, one eastward the other westward, to the edges of the
Continent, Both had the definite aim of establishing one great state
which was to stretch from the shores of the Atlantic to the shores of
the Pacific and was to be a preliminary to the ultimate conquest of the
Due to the participation of the Atlantic Democracies in the Second
Great War Germany was smashed, while Russia, through the political
genius of Stalin, who had not met his match among the leaders of those
Democracies, was able to reach halfway across Europe. That belt of
States which existed in the Middle Zone between Russia and Germany
prior to 1939 (referred to contemptuously by the Germans as " Zone
des Debris") was to virtually disappear , . . The front line between
the Western World with its leading Atlantic Democracies, and the
Soviet World, now stretched from the Beringa Straits (there is a mile
of water between Russia and the United States) to India and Japan*
On this front line in the most vital European sector, where the whirl-
wind of war had raged for so many years, Poland's problem was to be
the most characteristic—not merely because she had received guarantees
from the Allies and because Britain and France had entered the war
to maintain her independence, not merely because the Poles showed a
particular vitality, not because the Soviets, like the Germans, were to
encounter the strongest resistance to their aggression, but first and
foremost because, long before the defeat of Germany, Poland had become
the test of the solidarity of the Great Alliance, Here was the field
where the Two Worlds were to meet, here the Great Powers encountered
a problem which could not be settled by compromise. One side
would have to give way. The Democracies were brought face to face
with the question ... was Poland to be free ?—whether or not to fulfil
their guarantees and ... the thesis of Democracy . . * in other words,
did they intend opposing Russian conquest as they had opposed Hitler's
aggression ?